The Bitter and the Sweet
One of my favourite songs is a Naomi Shemer poem called “Al Kol Eleh.” That link contains a fairly dreadful translation, but I do love the opening stanza: Over the honey and the sting / Over the bitter and the sweet / Over our daughter, our baby / My God, watch over what is good.”
It’s this reminder; that you can’t have the honey without the bee, and with the bee comes the sting. You can’t have the intense love you feel for a child without realizing the fragility of life; that death is just as much a possibility as living.
I will start with the sweet.
It may have taken a long time, it may have been an accident, but the ChickieNob is now the proud owner of a clam-like animal, a bivalve called an abra alba. (You’ve never heard of an abra alba? Neither had we. Thank you, Google.)
We went to the beach to get over the insanity that was not only the derecho (another word we learned this week thanks to the Google-machine. It’s the name of a land hurricane) and the subsequent power outage, but because we also had to attend a wedding in the middle of the power outage (and did I mention, there was also no water) AND I got my period on the 16th day of my cycle in the middle of said wedding and obviously had nothing with me because who the hell carries tampons with them on the 16th day of their cycle? The whole day was something of a goat rodeo.
So after the wedding, we went to the beach with a set of friends who also hadn’t any power, and while I was standing by the water, I noticed the waves were bringing in these clam-like animals that would immediately burrow down into the sand. I managed to catch one of them, and I held it out for the twins to examine. “Look,” I foolishly said. “It’s a baby clam.”
“I love him,” the ChickieNob announced despite the fact that she had just met him and her brain was surely a little addled from the lack of electricity.
“You can’t love him. You don’t even know him.”
“I love him,” the ChickieNob said simply. “Can I take him home and have him live in my room? I’ll feed him… things. And take care of him. And make salt water so I can clean his bowl.”
And even though it clearly was a bad idea, I not only agreed to this but caught a second one for the Wolvog. She named hers Milky White and he named his Seablue, and they lived in the hotel room inside sand-and-water filled water bottles. And — G-d help me — they thrived. They ate and burrowed and stuck out their siphons and seemed generally happy in the abra alba sense of the word.
And by fuck, those abra albas grew on me, and I came to love them too. Especially when Seablue opened his little shell and poked his mucousy appendages out and we all cooed at how smart he must be to open his shell like that.
I will end with the bitter.
As many have heard, Nancy from ANewLifeofNancy (the name of her blog changed a few times over the years), died this week. I don’t have any details; I only knew from other people’s comments on her Facebook page.
Every single person in this blogosphere adds their unique voice to create the whole, and even one missing voice leaves a void. I’m remembering Nancy today as the roller derby queen. As someone who never backed down, someone who brought honey with the sting, sweetness with the snark.
I’d like to leave you with an old post of Nancy’s; one of my all-time favourites. If you knew her, you probably remember this one. If you didn’t know her, you will realize why the blogosphere is different today without her here.